Pet Poison Prevention Month
Grandma Lucy’s mission is to help every pet live their healthiest and happiest life. A happy pet starts with a safe pet. March is Pet Poison Prevention Month, to help bring awareness to common toxins and prevent illness. Dangerous items are not limited to pesticides or poisons, as there are many common household items which are unsafe and even deadly for animals. Pets are family members; take the time to ensure that your loved ones are safe and be sure to keep harmful household items out of pets’ reach. Avoid an emergency trip to the veterinarian by checking your home for items to keep away from curious paws, and know what signs and symptoms to look for in case of emergency.
Many conventional household cleaning and maintenance supplies are toxic to pets. These items include fertilizers, chemicals and cleaners, and pest control products including pesticides and rodenticides. By itself, fertilizer may only cause gastrointestinal upset, however, many fertilizers contain chemicals called carbamates which can be fatal if ingested. Consumption of such chemicals can lead to seizures, difficulty breathing, fever, or death. Pesticides and rodenticides are designed to keep unwanted critters away, but can be just as lethal to pets. Consumption of rat poison itself is not the only danger that rodenticides pose to pets. If a pet eats a poisoned rat or mouse, they can still be affected by the toxic bait and can suffer seizures or tremors, blood clotting, brain swelling, kidney failure, and ultimately, death. Never leave out any kind of cleaning solution or chemical, and always supervise your pet. If keeping products out of reach and in cabinets is not enough to keep a curious cat or pup away, child-proof latches and locks are a great way to keep your pet out of harm’s way.
Accidental ingestion of medications is the most frequent culprit for poisoning and can have life-threatening repercussions. Over-the-counter and prescription drugs were reported to be the most common pet toxins in 2020, and made up 40% of calls received by the ASPCA Animal Poison Control. Antidepressants, NSAIDs, and attention-deficit disorder medications make up a significant number of cases. Ingestion of NSAIDs like Advil or Motrin can cause stomach and intestinal ulcers, as well as kidney failure. While all medication can pose a danger, antidepressants comprised the most calls of accidental ingestion and can cause neurological issues, agitation, and seizures. Be sure to always keep medications out of reach and put away, and to securely close all bottles. It is also important to not share one pet’s prescriptions with another. Just like with people, prescription medications must be properly dosed by a professional for safety, and while a prescription may be safe for one pet, medications can interact differently with each animal.
In order to create a pet-friendly home from the inside out, you will also need to be aware of the plants and foods in your household. There are many foods which may be unsafe or toxic for pets. Never offer your pet alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, onions, grapes or raisins, or anything containing the sweetener xylitol, which can often be found in peanut butter. Additionally, not all plants are pet-safe and common flowers like lilies, tulips, and daffodils are deadly to cats. Before bringing home any new plants or flowers, check to make sure it is pet-approved and non-toxic. For more information on plant safety and creating a pet-friendly yard, read our article detailing the best foliage for your furry friends
Not only is it important to know which items are dangerous, but it is equally vital to have a plan of action in case of emergency. If you suspect your pet may have ingested something toxic, keep an eye out for these signs and symptoms: excessive drooling, lethargy, pale or yellow gums, tremors or seizures, digestive upset, loss of appetite, and restlessness. Seek emergency veterinary care if your pet presents any of these symptoms or if you witness them ingesting anything they should not. Not all family veterinarians offer emergency hours, and if this is the case, keep a list of the closest emergency facility to you. If you observe the item or product your pet has ingested, bring the container or packing with you to help the veterinary team treat your pet. There are poison control numbers available to provide emergency consultation as well, such as the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control who can be reached at (888)426-4435. The Pet Poison Helpline is another resource and is available around the clock at (800)213-6680. In the case that your pet consumes something toxic, act quickly and as calmly as possible to help your pet receive the care they need and to not add additional stress to the animal.
At Grandma Lucy’s, we know that for many pets are our family. Keep your family safe with these steps and preventative measures. A bit of extra time spent taking inventory of your home or pet-proofing storage is well worth it and just might save your furry family members’ life. Our pets offer us unconditional love and all they have, and in return they rely on their humans to care for them and protect them. Take the time this March to keep your pet in safe hands and protect your future together.